Windows 10 Anniversary Update and Plugable Docking stations and USB Video adapters

Summary: Windows 10 Anniversary Update includes native support for DisplayLink technology and will automatically install the proper DisplayLink drivers for most users. If this process does not proceed as expected, drivers can be manually installed.

Update 8/18/2016 – On a system with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update and a DisplayLink device, the ‘Duplicate’ or clone mode may not be available within the Display Settings application. This is caused by the use of a driver for the system’s internal graphics adapter that is not Windows 10 native and does not support the WDDM 2.0 standard, or more specifically Desktop Window Manager (DWM) clone mode. More information is available from DisplayLink here

Update 8/10/2016 – The limitation referenced in our 8/4 update has been removed with the latest 8.0 M1 release of the DisplayLink driver, and the download links have been updated.

Update 8/5/2016 – DisplayLink has posted a knowledge base article with more information about the changes the Windows Anniversary Update brings -> http://support.displaylink.com/knowledgebase/articles/525125-displaylink-and-windows-10

Update 8/4/2016 – There is a limitation with the current 8.0 M0 release of the DisplayLink driver that in some instances can prevent more than four DisplayLink attached monitors from working as expected. This limitation is expected to be addressed in the next release of the DisplayLink driver, which is currently expected to be released mid-August. Please email us at support@plugable.com with any additional questions.

On July 29th, 2015 Microsoft released Windows 10 as a free upgrade for home users of Windows 7 and 8.1. With any operating system update there are changes in behavior and new things to learn. With regard to our USB docking stations and USB graphics adapters we documented those findings in one of our blog posts here -> https://plugable.com/2015/07/27/windows-10-and-plugable-docking-stations-usb-graphics-adapters

While many of the issues documented in our old post have been resolved, time has passed and Windows 10 turned one year old on July 29th 2016. To celebrate the occasion Microsoft will be releasing a large update known as the ‘Anniversary Update’ to the operating system on August 2nd.

Microsoft provides more details here -> https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/06/29/windows-10-anniversary-update-available-august-2/ but in general the update continues Microsoft’s approach to providing continual Windows 10 updates as a service rather than separate product updates as they did with previous versions of Windows.

What’s New

The Anniversary Update will add features and bug fixes, but the most exciting aspect from Plugable’s perspective is the inclusion of native support for DisplayLink technology. Why the excitement? Native Windows support for DisplayLink offers a multitude of benefits for users including simplified device installation, improved performance, and reduced system resource usage.

With the latest release, Microsoft has integrated native support for DisplayLink USB video devices into the operating system so our USB video adapters and docking stations are considered standard Display Adapters within Device Manager (previously they were in a unique class, “USB Video Adapter”). Beyond the benefits mentioned above, it certainly helps to have the substantial software engineering resources of Microsoft providing support for the code making everything work behind the scenes enabling USB graphics devices to function more like traditional graphics adapters and in some cases work in some specific scenarios where they would not have previously.

Driver Installation Details

When installing a Plugable USB graphics adapter or docking station for the first time on a system with the Anniversary Update already installed, Windows Update should automatically download and install the appropriate DisplayLink driver, version 8.0.

If for some reason that does not happen (for example no internet access being available) our best practice for installing and using our adapters and docking stations is as follows:

1. Before connecting the product, download and install the DisplayLink driver from here -> DisplayLink Windows Driver Version 8.1 M0
2. Once the installation is complete, connect the product and your additional displays should become active

If you’re already a user of one of our docks or video adapters, our testing with Insider Preview builds (the method Microsoft uses to test updates before release) has shown that in most cases the system is updated things ‘just work’ as expected. It is important to note that If the system already has a version of the DisplayLink driver 7.9 or older installed, the older driver will be removed automatically and be replaced with latest 8.0 version.

In the cases where USB graphics aren’t working as expected after installing the Anniversary Edition update, the best practice is as follows:

1. Disconnect your USB video adapter or USB docking station (if using a docking station please also disconnect the power adapter)
2. Uninstall the ‘DisplayLink Core’ software package via the Control Panel and then Programs and Features. This will also uninstall the ‘DisplayLink Graphics’ component if present
3. Download and run the DisplayLink Installation Cleaner from here -> http://www.displaylink.com/downloads/file?d=64
4. Reboot the system, even if not prompted
5. Download and install the DisplayLink driver from here -> DisplayLink Windows Driver Version 8.1 M0
6. Reconnect your docking station (after reconnecting the power) or USB video adapter and your displays should become active

At this time the DisplayLink driver is not integrated into the operating system installation image so for the time being the driver will have to be installed via Windows Update or manually installed if Windows Update does not work. Our hope is that in the future the DisplayLink driver will be ‘baked in’ to Windows itself so that a fresh installation of Windows will work with our USB video adapters and docks without requiring a download or manual installation.

In conclusion, Microsoft has taken the great step in bringing parity to USB graphics support within Windows itself. While in most cases things should ‘just work’ as with any major update to an operating system things may not go as expected. If any of our customers apply the update and the above instructions don’t help, please contact us directly at support@plugable.com and we will be happy to assist.

Issues

We will also be updating this post with any relevant issues we are tracking once the Anniversary Update has been released to the public. Please check back often as we add additional details.

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